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Lenny's Britain - A Labour of Laughs

Updated Tuesday, 5th June 2007

How do we use humour in the workplace? We now work longer hours than any other country in Western Europe, so are we using a particular type of humour to cope?

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Lenny tries life as a fireman Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

We often think of humour as simply a bit of fun, but at work it can be used as a divisive and hurtful weapon. How often do you hear the jibe "can't you take a joke?" shorthand for "I'm insulting you in a socially acceptable way."

Lenny heads to Glasgow and Edinburgh, starting with a day on the production line at Tunnocks tea cake factory. Manufacturing industries were once the mainstay of the nation; today, the service sector has taken over. So Lenny tries his hand at being a waiter in an Indian restaurant, and dons a suit and tie to do a shift in a financial call centre.

Public service workers are many people's heroes so Lenny becomes a fire-fighter, a job where humour is vital for a close knit team facing major trauma.

Finally, walking the streets of Glasgow with some parking attendants, he finds out what it's like to be the butt of some of our cruelest humour.

First broadcast: Tuesday 12 Jun 2007 on BBC ONE





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